The restaurant, a ChefStable joint, is one of the most anticipated to open this year, and features a menu that holds as many surprises as any eatery that's opened in recent years.
We spoke to the couple yesterday by phone to see what's in store for you when you drop by for a visit. Here's what you should expect.
1. What's up with the name, anyway? "We like the function of what small plates do, what amuse-bouche and hors d'oeuvres do," says Denton. "A superbite is designed to be one to three bites. You can be really aggressive with the seasoning and the flavors, and even if you go over the top, it's a still a small amount of food to eat. When you taste one, you might crave more, but [because they're so intense] you might not necessarily want it. On its own, it's a perfect bite."
2. About those superbites. A third of Denton and Quiñónez Denton's menu is dedicated to the superbite. In total, a dozen superbites are available, including coq au vin bites with duck hearts and morel mushrooms, a halibut brandade fishstick, and a grilled shiitake mushroom that comes with a porcini marshmallow that gets dusted with miso powder. That beef tartatre-cheese souffle glowingly described late last week by The Oregonian's Michael Russell? It's still in the R & D phase. "We're still perfecting it," Quiñónez Denton says. "It's an ambitious dish that needs to be fine-tuned to perfect execution before we start putting out 30 to 40 per night in the middle of a busy dinner shift." Bites range in price from $3 to $8.
3. How about the rest of the menu? The rest of the menu is divided into plates and platters. Plates are essentially small plates, and include dishes like cuttlefish noodles with peas and mussel-saffron cream, burrata with asparagus, cured eggplant chorizo, and pine nuts, broiled halibut with Sardinian walnut sauce, and barbecue beef short ribs with Ecuadorian potato pancakes. Platters, on the other hand, are meant to be shared. These plates are larger than your average main-with-sides dish. Expect dishes like pork shoulder with hazelnut chimichurri, sautéd asparagus, morel mushrooms, and egg noodles, as well as bone-in ribeye—which can come as large as 40 ounces—served with jus-braised potatoes, and fried broccoli with fermented chiles and blue cheese. Prices hover in the $30-ish range.
4. That big plate of beef could go for around $100. Don't blanch at that price though. That dish is meant to be shared. Your body can barely digest six ounce of meat at a time, and even eight ounces is pushing it. So a 40-ounce steak can be shared with five of your friends.
5. What about dessert? Likewise, the dessert menu runs from small bites to composed plates. The dessert bites, or "spoons" are basically little cheese bites that are packed with lots of flavors and textures. Denton describes one bite as a triple cream cheese paired with candied apples, truffles and pistachio, while Quiñónez Denton says an example of a more composed dessert would by the couple's toasted carrot cake, served with a goat's milk camembert, and topped with candied walnuts and a pat of Irish butter. Prices range from $3 to $10.
6. Seasonality will rule the kitchen. Of course it will, because Oregon. But Denton says that their crew will keep some ringers on the menu, especially if they're composed of cultivated ingredients, like the shiitake-porcini marshmallow superbite which, he adds, were favored highly by diners during the two nights SuperBite was softly open.
7. What about cocktails? Of course, because Portland. Look for drinks like the Should Coulda Woulda (Fernet Branca, rye, lemon and cider) and the Party Barge (tequila reposado, strawberry shrub, lemon and black pepper). Prices fall in the $10 to $12 range.
8. The pedigree of the staff is on-point. The bar will be run by Beau Burtnick, who put in time behind the stick at Angel Face, Shift Drinks and Acadia. SuperBite's chef de cuisine, Corey Rom, comes from Ox, the general manager, Daniel Weiner, will split time between SuperBite and Ox, and the sous, Penelope Manalili, who's cooked in kitchens for Gordon Ramsay, among others.
9. One-house service style. "We're doing what we call one-house," Denton says. Basically, the kitchen staff will prep, create, and cook the food, then run it to your table, where they'll be on hand to answer any of your questions. It makes sense Quiñónez Denton says, because on busy nights, dishes will be leaving the kitchen every two or three minutes. Plus, Denton adds, it gives his cooks, who may dream of one day running their own restaurant, a crash course in learning just how the front of the house works. Don't worry, though, there will still be servers to greet you, take your order, and make sure you have everything you need.
10. The hours of operation. To start, SuperBite will be open from 5 to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, with longer hours—till 11 p.m., or even later—on Fridays and Saturdays. Hours will eventually expand to six nights a week, which means it will eventually go dark on either Sundays or Mondays.
SuperBite: 527 SW 12th Ave., 503-222-0979